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Ivan Biaggio portrait

Ivan Biaggio


Lewis Lab 407

PhD from ETH Zurich in 1993

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Additional Interests

  • Photonics
  • Nonlinear Optics
  • Optoelectronics

Research Statement

Biaggio’s research is focusing on condensed matter physics and photonics, using different kinds of lasers to investigate light-matter interaction in various systems.

In the condensed matter area, his research group is working on the investigation of organic semiconductors. These materials often consist of molecular single crystals and they generally work in an area of condensed matter physics that is markedly different from conventional semiconductors. Biaggio’s group has contributed greatly to advances in the understanding of the photophysics of one organic semiconductor that serves as a prototype material in the fields: rubrene. He and his graduate students published the first complete spectroscopy characterization of the material, the first visual observation of the diffusion of triplet excitons, also determined the connection between its photocunductivity and triplet exciton states. His group is currently investigating the properties of a quantum-entangled pair of triplet excitons that are generated after photoexcitation and wonder independently in the crystal by diffusing, while remaining in an entangled state from the point of view of spin. His work with Eric Wolf, a Lehigh undergraduate student at the time, lead to the first observation of fluorescence quantum beats in rubrene/

In the photonics area, Biaggio’s research lead to the development of a specific small-molecule organic material that can be easily combined with silicon photonics to create the optical equivalent of a transistor, a special waveguide device that can be used to control light with light (all-optical switching). This lead to the first ultra-high-speed demonstration of all-optical switching using the “DDMEBT” material, and to the later development of a general new paradigm for enhancing photonics circuits by homogenously filling nanometer scale gaps in silicon waveguides with a mall-molecule material using physical vapor deposition. Biaggio’s group is also doing general work in various areas of nonlinear optics, such as special coupled waveguides that can be used for frequency conversion in glass fibers, or the development of organic electro-optic modulators for integrated photonics.



Prof. Ivan Biaggio received his Ph.D. in physics in 1993 from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) in Zürich, with a thesis on photorefractive effects induced by short light pulses. He then held a post doctoral position in the group of Prof. R. W. Hellwarth at the University of Southern California, where he worked on nonlinear optical effects in atomic vapors, optical correlators, and polaron mobility in Bi12SiO20. After a post doctoral stay with the group of Prof. G. Roosen at the Institut d'Optique Théorique et Appliquée in Orsay, France, working on applications and modelling of the photorefractive effect in the semiconductor crystal Cadmium Telluride (CdTe), he returned to the Nonlinear Optics Laboratory at ETH in 1996 to become the leader of the Photonic Materials Technologies team, where he worked on the nonlinear optical properties and charge transport properties of BaTiO3, KNbO3, Bi12SiO20, and DAST (an organic salt), touching such topics as the charge carrier mobility anisotropy in KNbO3 and BaTiO3, large polaron theory in a multi-mode polar lattice, the hole-mobility in KNbO3, the 2nd order nonlinear optical contributions to degenerate four-wave-mixing in non-centrosymmetric materials, and organic thin film systems for electronics and photonic applications. He received the venia legendi from ETH in 2001, went to Lehigh as an Associate Professor in October 2002, and became a Full Professor in 2010. At Lehigh, he established a research program dedicated to light-matter interaction, condensed matter physics, nonlinear optics, and materials for photonics. He is presently leading research into new paradigms for creating bulk organic materials for nonlinear optics, and excitation and transport in various materials from glasses to semiconductors. Recently, his research group has worked on uncovering some exciting properties of singlet and triplet excitons in a particularly nice organic crystal.

Recent Publications


PHY 21: Introductory physics 2
PHY 142: Special Relativity
PHY 355: Photonics and Nonlinear Optics